Managing one’s image is the key to success in any walk of life. It is easy to confuse image management with a makeover, or attending a motivational or grooming workshop or getting a new hairstyle or buying new clothes. Image Management is much more than that and it involves ongoing evaluation and better utilization of personal resources.
To better understand image management let’s try and draw a direct comparison between managing a business and managing your image.
Look at the following diagram on managing a business:-
In a business, there are various roles, played by different people, and they have certain resources at their disposal which they are expected to make optimum use of in order to achieve the goals in their respected roles.
Now look at a similar diagram on managing your image:-
Unlike in a business, where different people have different roles, when it comes to your own image, it’s just one person, i.e. YOU. You play multiple roles, which could range from being a parent and managing the daily chores at home to going out for parties with your spouse, and interacting with people from different backgrounds. If you’re a working professional, then you also have a professional role to play.
The resources at your disposal are different Image Elements, which you need to make optimum use of in order to achieve your different goals in personal, professional, and social life.
Now what are the different image elements? And how are they a resource?
In a business, the resources available to you are your people, marketing tools, IT, and money. Consider the following diagram:
And now look at a similar diagram:-
Now in the above diagram, we see the different elements of image, which are the resources available to any person’s disposal. Image management is about making optimum use of all these resources.
Although, there are people or institutions which helps you to manage any one of these resources, how effective would your business be if you just manage your finances and not your people or your marketing? Besides, the current solutions offered are only an ad-hoc response to your demands and not a continuous process. Does your Image only need to be enhanced for a single day or event? To think on those lines is like thinking that managing a business is only about finance, HR, or Marketing.
In short, image management is learning the science and art of optimally utilizing personal resources like clothing, grooming practices, body language and etiquette for the achievement of goals in each role that one plays in life. It is a day-to-day management of resources.
Here are a few other pointers to think about:
- It’s important to understand your positive and negative characteristics and how to use the resources of clothing, grooming and body language to enhance the one and counter the other.
- It’s important to understand your personal style so that the image projected is authentic to you and not phoney or make believe. You cannot imitate a style you’re not comfortable with. Once authenticity is taken care of, the image projected also needs to be appropriate to the occasion, to the role and to the goals. Obviously, also needs to be attractive and affordable to be able to continue with it in the future.
- Ongoing evaluation of oneself is needed to keep changing with age, circumstances and with changing roles and goals.
- Upgrading your resources is required, just like any other effort, based on affordability, expanded roles and goals.